Watched "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" today and have mixed feelings about it. I am a huge, huge Douglas Adams fan. I've read every one of his books and have met the man three times at readings he's done. On top of that, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is one of my favorite books of all time. Given that kind of devotion to the material, I admit that I was biased against it going in. How could it possibly live up to what's been in my head for twenty years?
On one hand, it was an entertaining flick with absolutely perfect casting and beautiful effects (Shynola could have really dropped the ball in animating The Guide but shined instead). Compared to many movies out there, it's brilliant. On the other hand... well, compared to the actual book, it sucks. They made too many senseless changes that meandered off into distraction. If the changes improved the story for film, I wouldn't have objected... but the majority of the changes just didn't make sense. They didn't make the film funnier. They didn't make the story easier to follow. They didn't explain things for those unfamiliar with the books. They were changes for no reason I could see, and they would have been better off sticking to the source material. Why mess with perfection?
For true fans, there were a few nice touches... like the original theme from the radio show that played when The Guide was opening up. The original "Marvin" from the television version standing in line at the Vogosphere. And Douglas Adam's head being the last object transformed into by The Heart of Gold (to name a few). It's not enough to make up for some gross errors, but it helps.
Complaints aside, I am glad I saw the film. As I mentioned, the casting is so good that I can never again read one of The Guide books without picturing characters and settings imagined here (except Zaphod's second head, which was stupidly handled in the film). All I can say is that if you see the film and haven't yet read the book... you really must. You can't not read it.
And while we are on the subject of Douglas Adams, his book Last Chance To See (about his quest to see endangered species around the globe before they disappear forever), is also worth a look. Funny and heartbreaking at the same time... all while being an incredibly important work as well.
One last thing. For the love of Zarquon... SUBWAY, WOULD YOU PLEASE STOP PUTTING THAT f#@%ING TOOL JARED IN ALL YOUR LAME-ASS COMMERCIALS! Seriously, I don't give a crap if you are toasting your subs now... I will drive 20 minutes into Wenatchee so I can get a real toasted sub at Quiznos so long as you keep having that moron advertise your shit. Jared had a fat ass, ate some sandwiches, and lost weight... BIG f#@%ING DEAL, it doesn't make him any less annoying. All you're doing is pissing people off by keeping his dumb ass on television. And yes, I still want him dead... now more than ever.